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Management Lessons of a Failed Company

Christopher M. Tingley

This book is a look inside the day-to-day life of a retail manager as he witnessed from the front lines a company take the country by storm. Through a model of selling low priced clothing partnered with celebrity endorsements, the company’s rise was as big as their fall. After over a decade of teaching, the author, now a marketing and strategy professor, recalls his former life in retail. In a light-hearted and funny first-person narrative, the author takes you on a ride through his time with the now defunct clothing retailer Steve and Barry’s. He shares the lessons he learned from inside the store while watching mistakes made along the way. Through stories of being robbed at gunpoint, finding a dead body in the dumpster, and working to the point of exhaustion, the reader is given a firsthand account of the best and worst practices in store management. Designed to introduce students to business, management, entrepreneurship, and retail, it allows students to answer the question "Do I really want to be a manager?"

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11. Hiring and Promotions


The big store I was managing had been over the 200th location for the company, and to outsiders it seemed like there was no end to our company’s growth. We were hearing about new store openings all the time and always knew there would be another mall somewhere in the United States that needed a pick-me-up that our store could provide.

Nearby was a store that was located in a shopping mall that seemed to have been stuck somewhere in the 1970s. The mall had few stores, and even fewer customers. The location seemed like it would be better suited for a zombie movie than it would be as a location for a clothing store. When I first visited the store, I can remember how large the store was, and how simply dead feeling everything was inside.

In my training at the corporate office, I had been taught that much of the success of the company, as well as a lot of the growth, was due to a rather unique approach to retail locations. Our company would often open in malls that were losing business, or losing businesses. Our company had a knack for working out deals with malls that allowed our company to move into a mall for a fraction of the cost of a typical retail lease. The growing popularity of Steve and Barry’s was seen as a ←77 | 78→way for those malls to drive businesses, and there was always hope for a...

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